Gold gains as soft dollar lifts bullion appeal; Fed in focus

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,757.00 per ounce, as of 0656 GMT

  
Gold bars are seen in this picture illustration taken at the Czech National Bank in Prague January 31, 2011.

Gold bars are seen in this picture illustration taken at the Czech National Bank in Prague January 31, 2011.

REUTERS/Petr Josek

Gold prices firmed on Monday, propped up by a subdued dollar and slight retreat in the U.S. Treasury yields, with investors gearing up for speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers this week for cues on the central bank's rate hike timeline.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,757.00 per ounce, as of 0656 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,758.50.

The dollar index softened, making bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies. Meanwhile the benchmark 10-year Treasury yields eased after hitting their highest since early-July. 

"Gold is still looking slightly precarious where it is right now, and it's probably bouncing off key technical level around $1,750," IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.

A slew of Fed officials are due to speak this week including Chairman Jerome Powell, who will testify this week before Congress on the central bank's policy response to the pandemic. 

"There'll be a lot of questions being put to Fed speakers about what the dot plots implied last week and whether there is higher risk of heightened inflation going forward and that rate hikes could be coming in the first half of 2022," Rodda added.

Gold is often considered a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which pays no interest.

Investors also kept a close watch on developments in debt-laden property giant China Evergrande saga as the firm missed a payment on offshore bonds last week, with further payment due this week. 

The People's Bank of China continues to inject liquidity into markets indicating some systemic risks in the market and supported the bullion, Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said. 

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust GLD , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, increased 0.1% to 993.52 tonnes on Friday. 

Silver rose 0.9% to $22.62 per ounce.

Platinum climbed 0.8% to $990.04, while palladium gained 0.6% to $1,983.89.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((eileen.soreng@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6131; Reuters Messaging: eileen.soreng.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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